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What makes a "Good" Mission?


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I have to say that overall, Asset Extraction is my favorite mission. It hits two of my most important features: balance and cooperation. Enemies spawn based on how many clients take off and in what aircraft, so you can have a different mission each time just by choosing different aircraft, and it works with 3 or 12 people just as well. It's also challenging in that there are many ways to lose, but only one way to win, but it's not frustratingly difficult as long as your teammates are proficient.

 

I tend to like well-balanced missions, as well as missions where the challenge isn't made artificially difficult (artificially difficult as in Ka-50 vs an armored convoy at dusk/night without illumination flares). Missions where the proverbial square peg fits in the square hole are ideal, though sometimes some realistic deviation from that comfort zone is also fun. I think the Deployment campaign missions for the Ka-50 hit that sweet spot as well.

 

The other things I like are good pacing and immersion (e.g. good voice acting, radio chatter, keeping you in the moment). Both pacing and immersion done well together make for an experience that doesn't get old, even if it does get a bit predictable after a while. Immersion keeps it fresh, and pacing can keep you from getting cocky.

 

My pet peeves are artificially difficult missions or missions that act like adventure games of old where you need to die 50 times in order to know where the threats are to finish the mission. There's nothing wrong with high difficulty missions (though they should be specified as such), but I don't enjoy a 10 minute cold start in the A-10C and a transit toward the FEBA, only to get waxed by a SA-13 that could not have reasonably been detected by the onboard sensors. Same thing with Ka-50 dark/dusk missions, where they can see and shoot you, but you're unable to lock them up.

 

EDIT: One last thing: I often utlilize a bit of gamesmanship in my missions. I may bend or stretch reality to accommodate limited systems in an aircraft, or keep an enemy in a restricted ROE longer if a player flies under 500 feet to simulate the early warning not being on top of things. I also try to allow for tactical decision making by introducing trade-offs in tactical approaches. I don't want to elaborate because I'm collaborating on a mission right now for which I don't want to spoil the surprise.

My $.02.


Edited by Home Fries
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I like to be a part of a bigger development in a mission.

 

- It`s need a background story (what happen before my mission?)

- What is the current situation?

- All possible (real) information for a pilot (target position, known friendly and unfriendly position in my flight path (if they are discoverd from intel), frequencies, etc. pp.) - [i would have (what ever it is) the same knowledge like a real pilot, before he/she fly a mission!]

- a busy airfield and a busy environment (i know, it kill a lot of framerate) :music_whistling:

- voice traffic

...

 

As Home Fried say, a balanced mission is every important, an A-10C is not a SAM killer, it hunt tanks.

 

- an option to replayable of a mission - one mission i like to play again and again is FOB Vekta from Joyride. It is a "simple" mission, but when i fly it, i feel like a part of a bigger whole.

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That is a rather open ended question for me and its kinda like the US Supreme courts definition of porn, "You know it when you see it". Generally speaking there are very few fixed wing SP scenarios I can enjoy, most of which feature the fact that your AI wingman doesn't matter that much. On the flipside I very much enjoy SP helicopter missions and campaigns even if I have a wingman. I think that comes down to the differences between plane and helicopter AI. In terms of multiplayer I'm very flexible and only when things jump the shark is when I typically start to dislike a scenario. So what makes a good mission for me?

 

In general:

-Well formed briefing with appropriate information.

Bonus points if you have nice briefing images related to my objective.

Setup and backstory for a scenario is a difficult balance. It needs to be there to an extent if you are pushing story, but there is such a thing as overkill. Remember that the briefing gets squished into a fairly narrow column of information which makes relatively short paragraphs look like a wall of text. That said I think stories lend themselves better to helicopter or ground attack oriented missions more-so than something air combat fighter centric.

 

-Have an active world

With planes this means a flight taking off and another landing at the airbase. Maybe have a tanker + escort sitting in contrails. If other AI flights are needed for the scenario this becomes easier.

With helicopters, the occasional friendly ground force can add alot when flying a route over friendly territory. The assorted helicopter campaigns did this to great effect. Weirdly spotting non-world objects is a little easier in helicopters and it can help keep you on your toes.

 

-Voiceovers can also aide both of the above points. The tone of a voice-over can also dictate the feel of a mission. Its not everyone's strong suit, but people seem to enjoy lending their voices to other peoples missions, so be sure to take advantage of it.

 

It is also worth noting that MP sessions and the type of people you play with can drastically change your outlook on a given scenario. Something with a long boring flight could be compensated by interacting with the other players. Its MUCH easier for me to get sucked into a multiple hour game session in MP than it is in SP. Scenarios that are overly difficult play out entirely differently if you are in a friendly competition with your teammates where you can laugh at their failures and gloat at your success. Likewise replaying a well known and used mission using alternative tactics is simply more fun with friends.

 

I'm getting a little dejavu cause I swear some of this was stated in the recent 476th podcast Gray and I did.

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Turn-ons

 

  • Surprise/Originality
  • Immersion
  • Using teamwork to overcome obstacles effectively (multiplayer is a must for me) All the better if this is a requirement, doesn't matter if its air to ground coordination or otherwise.
  • Being forced to use systems/weapons I don't often - things like emergency procedures.
  • Working with Ground troops or moving vehicles

Turn-offs:

 

  • SAM layering under the guise, "MOAR IS BETTAH".
  • Killing tanks and SAM's with PGM's. I've got this now after three years.
  • Loadouts built by "Counter Strike players" (6 mavs, 6GBU's etc)
  • Mission time is 1200 hrs clear skies (huge turnoff, can i get a hooah?)
  • Scenarios not based on common sense. Riles me to get Russians based in Georgia breaking out to US held....Russia? You know your mission writer is a cretin then.
  • Stationary vehicles in the middle of fields
  • Long story type briefings, "I woke up at 5.30am still hungover with chewing gum stuck to my forehead and a full ashtray emptied on my desk..."
  • A mission with no clear goal defined.

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Scenarios not based on common sense. Riles me to get Russians based in Georgia breaking out to US held....Russia?

 

Haha, that's actually what my new beginner, I'm-just-learning-how-to-build-campaigns campaign is like. The backstory is that the war in the Ukraine has come to a head, Russia tried to expand even further into Georgia, NATO (for the first time in their existence) actually decided to do something by pushing eastwards while Russia had foolishly tried to fight a war on two fronts, the Ukraine and Georgia. They ended up losing Crimea but taking a strong hold in Georgia. NATO forces continued in their push to free Georgia by occupying the coastal region that is now Russia, including Sochi, which was particularly insulting to the Russians, obviously. However, now Russia is backed into a corner, occupying Georgia while NATO forces are trying to surround it in an attempt to loosen their grip and get a peace agreement when the Russians see that it's a lost cause. However, the push to surround them by taking over other bases which are practically in Russia is daunting and obviously not too realistic, but it is plausible. If you suspend the knowledge you have about NATO as a defensive mission and turn it into an offensive mission (which some may say it is already), the scenario is possible.

 

At this point in time, this is a few years in the future and Russia has been suffering under severe sanctions from the US and EU, so they don't have unlimited funds, and if you remember correctly, the Russian military is just now getting out from underneath a very difficult period. These sanctions combined with the exponential costs of supporting their aging military while being completely ostracized by the western world and simultaneously invaded by the west in order to take back Georgia has put them in a difficult position.

 

I think that although the occupation of bases in Russia by the west in and around Crimea isn't very realistic at the moment, you need a good backstory to sell it, using both geopolitics with a mixture of realistic capabilities and current events.

 

That is the backstory and scenario of my upcoming easy campaign designed to warm-up newbies to DCS; it's a microcosm, sure, but the entire DCS theater is one big microcosm. NATO forces attacking Russian forces in Russia from Georgia isn't very realistic either because Russia would just swarm them, so the creators didn't really make it easy on us to begin with and the scenario isn't very realistic in the first place. Were it from the eastern Ukraine side pushing east towards Moscow, north to St. Petersburg, etc., that would be a different story. As I see it, the entire theater is one big WHAT IF scenario, and you can't be too anal about realism, at least geopolitically.


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For me it would be single player missions that feel like you're not the only one there (would love to do multiplayer but do not have internet that can run it without lagging.) So having the airfield and environment alive is a huge immersion factor.

 

The most fun I've had in DCS are in missions with good voice overs/acting that makes you care about that person and what's going on.

 

Lastly, missions that would force you to learn systems that you wouldn't always use in routine flights to be successful. But not just in a training mission. For example: In the A10 using TACAN navigation and ILS instead of steer points with the HUD. Needing to do an aerial refuel. On a shorter mission may be because the field was low on fuel. Using a variety of weapon systems. Or other systems that I'm unaware of, I'm still learning.Maybe even have an option to have your wingman or somebody walk you through the system because you are either rusty or a green pilot.

 

 

 

 

 

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For me it's employment realism. People may not realize this, but real-world ops tend to be actually quite boring and monotonous, with only short, brief bursts of intense situations. Most air-to-air missions are just flying out to a CAP point and burning holes in the sky, or holding in a killbox burning holes in the sky waiting for a TIC. Missions that overtax the pilot and inundate him/her with nearly impossible outcomes are a little ridiculous.

 

That doesn't mean we can't be creative and be a little unrealistic every now and then, but sending a four ship against 10 adversaries while simultaneously having to react to SAM threats and not having any other support or backup is really annoying.

 

Also, sending jets to do a task that not only isn't really their responsibility but also goes against their own employment doctrine just makes me smh.

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It should also be said that western doctrine is often like shooting fish in a barrel. A prime example is the Balkans conflict in the late 90s. As soon as the Serbian forces took off, they would just get lit up by everyone, as everyone was eager to get a kill. They didn't even have a chance. This is the way it's done in reality, with overwhelming firepower. It's extremely rare to see an actual 2v2 or 4v4 in reality because there will be so much support denying the enemy the use of their own weapons.

 

Don't think that building a lop-sided mission isn't realistic because it's probably more realistic than building an evenly-matched one.

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I am a one trick pony that only flies the A-10C and have always been a critic of A-10C missions that task the A-10C to perform SEAD against multiple SAMS. If I download a user created mission the first thing I do is tweak it to conform to the intended role of the Hawg and that usually works quite well. What has always baffled me is that there are many members of the community that are probably creating the kind of realistic missions that like minded folks would enjoy but only rarely are these missions being made available for download. Come on people.....cough 'em up.

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  • ED Team

That is the backstory and scenario of my upcoming easy campaign designed to warm-up newbies to DCS; it's a microcosm, sure, but the entire DCS theater is one big microcosm. NATO forces attacking Russian forces in Russia from Georgia isn't very realistic either because Russia would just swarm them, so the creators didn't really make it easy on us to begin with and the scenario isn't very realistic in the first place. Were it from the eastern Ukraine side pushing east towards Moscow, north to St. Petersburg, etc., that would be a different story. As I see it, the entire theater is one big WHAT IF scenario, and you can't be too anal about realism, at least geopolitically.

 

You just need to be creative, I am working on two campaigns in conjunction right now (one Red one Blue, but same story/timeline) and I am trying to mix historical events with 'what if' scenarios. Its fun to research historical events and just change one or two points and see it track on a different timeline. As Grimes said though, having that balance of a decent story and not overwhelming the user is what I am trying to find right now. With a campaign though I can afford a companion PDF, maybe that is something that could work with a single mission as well.

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Here are a few items that I find makes for something *I* would love to play, over and over.

 

1- CLEARLY defined goals. I appreciate missions that tell me exactly what I am expected to do. You can even tell me what my rules of engagement are. Tell me you want me to stay with the escort till waypoint 7, and not to deviate from that because there is a fighter sweep handling any enemy interference. I don't want to feel, well they'll be ok, let me go pad my kill count. If I am part of a strike package in an Su-25T and my only job is to take out a column of tanks, I want to know that I can do this and RTB feeling job well done. I don't need a "by the way, can you also take out flight X's targets too, they're only 50 miles away".

 

2- Intel: I get it if we are going into a place where there might be last minute manpads or a dude with an RPG on the roof, as those can be highly mobile. But that entrenched SAM site, should not be an afterthought that only spawns in 15 minutes after I have overflown their location. I am ok with not seeing something on the F10 map. I am not ok with not having it in my briefing that there were spotted SAMs on the NE outskirts of Gori. Never underestimate the power of adding RECON PHOTOS to a briefing. A lot of us are visual people.

 

3- Challenge me: The mission "Sochi Olympics Crisis" was an excellent one for me due to the fact that as a pilot JUST learning the Mi-8 Hip, it forced me to focus on hovering in position for an extended period, and has made me better for it. I love missions that give me a chance to hone in on areas just outside my comfort zone, because it makes me a stronger pilot once I pull it off.

 

4- Use the weather and time: Contrary to popular belief, I do not always like to fly at 12 noon in clear skies. War does not always wait for the weather to clear. Some of the most challenging missions that I have enjoyed might take place at dusk, or just before sunlight, or even in the dead of night in a thunderstorm. It's just an extra layer of SA for me. That having been said, make sure I am in an aircraft designed to handle that sort of flying.

 

5- Reward me: This is not a game where at the end of the mission you get a level up, or experience, or an uber-leet-weapon-of-doom. However it cannot be stated enough that I really enjoy when I hit my target, or wipe out the intended enemy force and get a message saying I did a good job. Even better if I am doing carrier ops, land back on the ship, and get the double bonus of being told "Nice trap". Kind words and a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED message go a long way with me to making me feel like I just saved the world... again.

 

6- Spellcheck. Yeah the grammar nazi in me is coming out. Sorry, I was an English minor in college, and an editor in the past. Please spellcheck your mission briefings and any messages within the mission. I realize no one is perfect, but always put your best foot forward, especially with so many resources online to ensure things are worded correctly.

 

7- The Right Tools For The Job: I have not seen this as an issue much, but I appreciate when a mission gives me the ordinance I need, and enough fuel for the trip. I don't need to be overloaded, and I also do not need to ditch a multi-million dollar aircraft because I did not have enough gas to make it to a divert field.

 

8- KISS: More than just an awesome rock band, KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. You don't need to have flights running around near Maykop if your theatre of operations is by Batumi, and you don't need 5 million SAMs to defend one power station. Stick to the mission critical elements and maybe if the scenario calls for it, a couple of AI flights that might be involved later. Adding too much always ends in lag.

 

9- Use Your Voice: While I understand that not everyone is a voiceover pro, this can go a long way to making a mission enjoyable. I am available as well if anyone needs a strong sounding commander voice.

 

10- Story Story Story: It does not have to be very detailed or last 15 chapters, but having a sensible story makes the mission something I really sink my teeth into. A prime example of this is the "Saving Badger" mini campaign. Write your story, before you write your missions.

 

 

Ok that is all I have for now. I hope this helps. I will say that I have thoroughly enjoyed A LOT of the missions we have come up with, so keep them coming folks!

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Excellent points Belgeode, especially number 8,

 

8- KISS: More than just an awesome rock band, KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. You don't need to have flights running around near Maykop if your theatre of operations is by Batumi, and you don't need 5 million SAMs to defend one power station. Stick to the mission critical elements and maybe if the scenario calls for it, a couple of AI flights that might be involved later. Adding too much always ends in lag.

 

I have seen so many missions designers get obsessed with lua scripting creating complex scenarios for ground activity that most folks aren't even aware is happening, nor care about. Some of the best missions made have been quite simple in design, challenging and realistic.

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Based on the feedback I got "back in the old days" from the variety of missions I created and hosted the impressions I got were these:

 

1) Build to a specific audience- don't try to impress everyone in the same mission. Some guys are going to want to get right into it, fly 5 minutes, release a WW7 amount of ordinance on defenseless targets and then eject to respawn into another aircraft to repeat the evolution in another part of the map. A mission brief offends them and anything more than "DESTROY EVERYTHING" will draw hate email later. You also have the purists who are the opposite... and then you have guys in the middle. Most of us build for those guys in the middle who want the briefing- want a realistic objective but also don't always have 3 hours to fly a mission (but they would if they had the time).

 

2) It's VERY difficult to design a defensive network that gives many of these aircraft a fair chance to detect and evade them without being professional attack / fighter pilots- especially if scripts that enhance SAM / AAA AI are put in place. While you don't need to give coordinates- general threat areas should be identified so people can go around those areas instead of being ambushed in them.

 

3) I found the weather control was a TREMENDOUS enhancer- however it was severely bugged in the MP environment when I left. Not sure if that was addressed... but the varying weather was an excellent feature that was enjoyed and hated (I love it for the same reason I hate it) from the feedback I got.

 

4) Don't smash all flyable airframes into the same mission unless it's a stress test or free flight. It is VERY difficult outside of a planned event or squadron membership to ensure that your CAP aircraft slots are going to be filled, or that AI is going to do what it's programmed to do. CAP slots on both sides are filled or empty- leaving opposite sides with nothing to do or offset types with SU27s mowing down A-10s like grass or F-15Cs with nothing to do because they can SEE that nobody is on red. Oh, it can be done... Conditions and scripting et al- but it consumes a lot of time and energy that could be put into enhancing the experience for fewer airframes.

 

5) Ground commanders are tough to please... and I never really did find a nice comfort zone with them. Functionality 6 months ago was severely compromised what with a variety of bugs that made controlling vehicles an extreme PITA. Ideally they would be empowered to work the board and help to add a dynamic / random concept to the attack - suport style missions- They FORCE players at all levels to play differently and more cautiously... but unfortunately were very limited in their capacity to do so. I'm all ears when it comes to figuring out how to best equip a ground commander with the tools to enhance a mission design while still feeling like he's contributing to the mission objective- whatever it is.

 

There are a few nitpicky things too- but I'm told that 3-5 points is a good start.


Edited by ENO

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Here is my contribution some of it similar to what other's have posted:

 

From our perspective we believe in Playability, Functionality, Authenticity, Flow, Length of Play, Attention to Detail and the Surprise or Wow Factor are good qualities to have in a mission or campaign.

 

Playability - The mission has to be enjoyable to play. If it is a never ending series of tasks that always repeat with little reward when accomplishing the goal it won't be enjoyed or played often.

 

Functionality - Quality missions are more important than quantity of missions. A 100 mission campaign that has failed triggers and poor scripting and doesn't work right will not be as good as a well scripted, 10 mission campaign that works and gives the user a sense of accomplishment.

 

Authenticity - Good missions have some context to them, they tell a story or put the user in a believable environment. They use realistic procedures and radio dialogue and the story lines are plausible and authentic. There are lots of real world examples to work from so we are not short on ideas!

 

Flow - Good mission flow really talks to the gaps between the action. Does the mission keep the user involved or are your spending 2 hours flying across the map for a 2 minute adrenalin filled engagement? Some purists may like that as it may match to real world scenarios but most players don't have that time to waste so you want your mission to have a good cadence.

 

Length of Play - This is really open ended as you could script a mission that takes a week or longer to complete. In most cases people usually only have a few hours to play so I wouldn't make missions longer than a typical movie. This really depends on your audience and the kind of mission you want to create.

 

Attention to Detail - This is a good thing to have in missions. Are your airports empty or are they bustling with excitement? Small attention to detail can make simple missions more realistic and draw the user into the world that you have created. Don't be afraid to populate your world with stories within stories.

 

Surprise or Wow Factor - This is hard to judge but it is very enjoyable to get the occasional unexpected event or situation. Something that fits in the context of the mission is ideal. Just something the user wouldn't expect but is still plausible will add to that enjoyment of the mission overall.

 

Keep the requirements coming!

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You just need to be creative, I am working on two campaigns in conjunction right now (one Red one Blue, but same story/timeline) and I am trying to mix historical events with 'what if' scenarios. Its fun to research historical events and just change one or two points and see it track on a different timeline. As Grimes said though, having that balance of a decent story and not overwhelming the user is what I am trying to find right now. With a campaign though I can afford a companion PDF, maybe that is something that could work with a single mission as well.

 

Exactly. I think imagination is key because anything is possible, really.

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Attention to Detail - This is a good thing to have in missions. Are your airports empty or are they bustling with excitement? Small attention to detail can make simple missions more realistic and draw the user into the world that you have created. Don't be afraid to populate your world with stories within stories.

 

This is actually what I find the most fun part of the entire process: attention to detail. It can also be very time-consuming and difficult to manage. I really want to create a life-like world with other things going on simultaneously that you'll never see but know are there doing their own thing. I'm working on having empty jets parked on the ramp, having some landing and some taking off at different points of the runways (if it's a multiple runway airport) as well as trying to integrate naval assets into the picture. In short, I want it to be like a Falcon 4 campaign mission, where you have your own simple mission to complete but make up part of the bigger picture without getting in each other's way. I'm still learning how it all works, though.

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There are great scripts in the library over in mission builders corner to help you accomplish that- the trick is in finding those that are keeping current with slight changes in the DCS foundations from update to update.

 

If you're not good at scripting the learning curve can be steep but there has always been a good number of folks around who don't mind helping out provided you can show you a desire to help yourself.

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I have to say that overall, Asset Extraction is my favorite mission. It hits two of my most important features: balance and cooperation. Enemies spawn based on how many clients take off and in what aircraft, so you can have a different mission each time just by choosing different aircraft, and it works with 3 or 12 people just as well. It's also challenging in that there are many ways to lose, but only one way to win, but it's not frustratingly difficult as long as your teammates are proficient.

 

I tend to like well-balanced missions, as well as missions where the challenge isn't made artificially difficult (artificially difficult as in Ka-50 vs an armored convoy at dusk/night without illumination flares). Missions where the proverbial square peg fits in the square hole are ideal, though sometimes some realistic deviation from that comfort zone is also fun. I think the Deployment campaign missions for the Ka-50 hit that sweet spot as well.

 

The other things I like are good pacing and immersion (e.g. good voice acting, radio chatter, keeping you in the moment). Both pacing and immersion done well together make for an experience that doesn't get old, even if it does get a bit predictable after a while. Immersion keeps it fresh, and pacing can keep you from getting cocky.

 

My pet peeves are artificially difficult missions or missions that act like adventure games of old where you need to die 50 times in order to know where the threats are to finish the mission. There's nothing wrong with high difficulty missions (though they should be specified as such), but I don't enjoy a 10 minute cold start in the A-10C and a transit toward the FEBA, only to get waxed by a SA-13 that could not have reasonably been detected by the onboard sensors. Same thing with Ka-50 dark/dusk missions, where they can see and shoot you, but you're unable to lock them up.

 

Very similiar to this, I like missions that have:

----------------------------------------------------------

- Good mission briefs with photo recon detail or specific flight plan or instructions, relevent radio Frequencies listed for quick reference, not a lot of fairy tale mission situation detail. ie (not to much detail as to overwelm you, just to get the mission done)

 

- Good selection of type of aircraft to fly with dynamic targets, but don't have these enemies popup when other flights are already over the engagement area just because another flight has joined in.

 

- Radio chatter is good so long as not over done.

 

- Keep missions reasonably short, not longer that 1 - 3 hours

 

- Voice Overs - Personally I like english speech (Different english accents are fine) for all aircraft.

 

- Good support from author to readily correct any issues that my arise from DCS patches on his mission. Also appreciate well laid out structure in the mission editor so that I can follow the timeline of mission triggers etc, so that I can fault find mission myself if I am having problems with it and the author isnt about anymore.

 

Asset Extraction and Opertation Bactria are fine examples of this as:

- They specify each flights assignments well

- They scale to different sizes of flights with dynamic targets for each

- Good and often funny voice overs, that crack me up at times.

- Good amount of realism, but still fun to fly.

 

That is the main ones for me.

 

Cheers, Ian.

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a good mission IMO :

 

- progressiv learning curve : so many caampaign are very difficult, would be nice to see a campaign easier like a "tutorial" to perform and discovers all complex aircraft abilities

- Many times, as English is not my native language, I don't anderstand what i'm supposed to do or find or interact. on first time i do a mission : should be good that messages don't disapear or briefings could be a bit more explicit.

- maybe we could put more "zone" and " triggers" which tell " you're not in the right direction, or keep heading on ... " or with the F10 menu " negative , could you repeat last please"

- immersive scenary, with many ground action ( for wwii planes, with likiliki wwii objects, jeeps and tanks....)

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^^^ what they said

 

This comment is from an A-10C- & Combined Arms-centric mission designer.

 

Balance. Start with a story. Pick a map location. Place groups. Write in to the Briefing windows to formulate your mission objectives 'on paper'. Separate Blue vs Red goals and state clearly what are the winning conditions for both sides. Make the story work with the terrain and the groups. Move locations if necessary. Think about the aircraft, but they come later. The ground game should be established first. The air stuff is the top-layer.

 

A ground populated mission should be balanced with ground Red vs Blue before adding aircraft humans in it -- where just a slight tip one way or the other by a Tactical Commander would decide it. Or you may want to favor the attackers!

 

 

And then think about the time that a mission would cover. Will it be a long term mission, lasting 12 hours or more? Or 1-2 hour, maybe 4-6 hours limited? On a mission that should be limited, how do you make that limit work and be fun, and be communicated to the players that goals must be met quickly?

 

It is fun to get an idea for a new mission and start it in the ME. Pick a base, add some support and build the story. In my experience a mission takes about a month to get ready...

 

 

Host/play the mission to test out every event trigger that impacts the outcome. Watch how ground units behave on route, and how an armor encounter can be different each time it plays out. Get some human pilots in the mission to see how they affect your mission -- and be ready to be surprised!

 

WC

 

PS. What makes a "Great" Mission? :joystick:

Visit the Hollo Pointe DCS World server -- an open server with a variety of COOP & H2H missions including Combined Arms. All released missions are available for free download, modification and public hosting, from my Wrecking Crew Projects site.

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Lots of good feedback, just wanted to throw my own comments in with respect to length of time. My own gaming time is typically limited to 1-2 hours, tops. I am quite happy playing a single mission for the whole time, but it royally sucks to play that long and not hit all the triggers or otherwise have to try again the next time.

 

On a quick mission, if I mess up, I can just try again. That's annoying but I'm ok with it. But on a long mission - I'd say it is best to make sure the user knows what they need to do to progress. Whether that is in the form of good intel or a good briefing or a partially scripted JTAC or what is up to the designer - just give hints, since real pilots surely would be getting hints from friendlies.

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Don't think that building a lop-sided mission isn't realistic because it's probably more realistic than building an evenly-matched one.

 

I look for every excuse to bring this up, but realistic is not the same as historically accurate. Yes, recent NATO wars have been lopsided. That doesn't make an evenly matched war any less realistic though.

 

A simulation is not limited to history, and if you think it must be, then take it to the extreme. In the extreme it's not a simulation unless you're are a real life pilot in a real life war at the time it actually happened, etc. That's a bit of a ridiculous limitation.

 

There's no problem with a WWIII situation, or even communist Canada invades the US in Nevada as long as you build the story and are consistent. At least that's how I see it.

 

When it comes to making good missions what I like to see (in no particular order):

 

1 - You are not a super deity. You're just one pilot out of many and while you can influence events, the world doesn't rely on you. This can be hard to implement because the AI lacks human intelligence, but in general I think the bigger the battle, the harder it is for the player to take control of everything.

 

2 - Randomness. In real life you'd go on a mission once and that's it. You can't refly it and memorize what happens. We can do this in the sim, but that leads to degradation of mission challenge and surprise. I like it when the first flight feeling is captured every time in a mission. The most effective way to do this is probably by randomizing certain events. If something can happen at any point in the mission, then the pilot can't look away.

 

3 - Detailed briefing. I need to know what I'm supposed to do and what I'm supposed to expect. The briefing doesn't have to be all knowing or completely correct (and I think ideally it shouldn't be either of those), but I should be able to paint a picture of what's going to happen based on the briefing. Images are extremely helpful and I think DCS needs to facilitate a waypoint map as part of all briefings automatically. Another change I'd like to see is to the threat list and how enemy units are displayed. Right now, if something isn't hidden it's on the list and you can look at the mission planner and see enemy waypoints, which is a bit much. Sometimes I want more ambiguous threats like "Su-27's have been operating in this general area".

 

4 - Cooperation. This ties in with the first point a little bit. I like to see interaction with AI units (and players of course, but that's easier). This can be time consuming to put in a mission though as it requires scripting, triggers, and/or a lot of F10 radio menu. Just working with wingmen can be very tedious and I've pretty much given on strategy besides sending wingmen to engage first to hopefully sponge up enemy missiles and distract things I want to shoot at.

 

5 - Immersion. This take a little bit from all the above, but also adds things like mission time and balance between sides. For me, flying 5 minutes from your base to the enemy HQ is a major immersion breaker. I can't stand when that happens. Ideally I would move my blue airbases out of the current map, but that's not an option currently.

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A simulation is not limited to history, and if you think it must be, then take it to the extreme. In the extreme it's not a simulation unless you're are a real life pilot in a real life war at the time it actually happened, etc. That's a bit of a ridiculous limitation.

 

There's no problem with a WWIII situation, or even communist Canada invades the US in Nevada as long as you build the story and are consistent. At least that's how I see it.

 

I agree with everything you said but especially this. There will need to be some creative stories for mission designs that aren't Red Flag and still want to make use of the Nevada map. I already have one that I've been day dreaming up. But as you said you still can make them "realistic" even if it's not plausible.

 

 

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